Crystal Ball/The Truth, 1998
Included as a bonus album with the three-disc Crystal Ball rarities set, The Truth offered up Prince in a stripped-down "acoustic" mode. At the start, this gorgeous ballad sounds unadorned and raw, like it was recorded in one take with Prince's nylon-string guitar foregrounded. But by the first chorus, garlands of backing vocals, bells, harpsichords and synthesized strings swell, and all sorts of strange stereo effects (breaking glass, rooster noises, Henry Mancini musical quotes) swirl about the mix. Fans still wonder about the identity of "Dionne," of whom Prince sang: "U should have held my hand/ U should have let me be your man."
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